Rum Swizzle Cocktail

Rum Swizzle Cocktail

Prep: 5 mins

Cook: 0 mins

Total: 5 mins

Serving: 1 serving

Yield: 1 cocktail

The rum swizzle is a popular tropical cocktail that’s more fun to mix than most. Seen by many as Bermuda’s national drink, there are countless ways to make a rum swizzle.

Most recipes pair two styles of rum with falernum or grenadine and tropical fruit juices. Bitters are typical, and there's always a mound of crushed or cracked ice. This recipe uses dark and light rums, falernum, and orange and pineapple juices, though you can personalize each ingredient.

Swizzle drinks are defined by the method used to mix them. They’re most traditional when made with a swizzle stick (or bois lele)—a long branch of the Quararibea turbinata (or swizzle stick) tree. It’s trimmed to keep a few short, blunt spikes on the bottom, similar to the spokes of a wooden wheel. You can buy one made of other materials, of course. When placed in a drink of cracked ice and spun by rubbing your palms together, the spokes churn the drink into a frothy wonder that you simply can’t get from shaking or stirring.

You can use this mixing technique on any crushed ice cocktail, including the mint julep. If you don’t have a swizzle stick, a bar spoon (particularly one with a flat disc on one end) will work just fine.


  • 2 cups crushed ice

  • 1 ounce dark rum

  • 1 ounce light rum

  • 1/2 ounce falernum

  • 2 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice

  • 2 ounces pineapple juice

  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 3 dashes aromatic bitters

  • Orange slice, pineapple wedge, and cherry, optional for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Rum Swizzle Cocktail

  2. Fill a double old-fashioned glass halfway with crushed ice. Add rums, falernum, and juices.

    Rum Swizzle Cocktail

  3. Holding a swizzle stick or bar spoon between your palms, spin shaft to churn mix vigorously until glass is frosty.

    Rum Swizzle Cocktail

  4. Top with more crushed ice and add a few dashes of bitters.

    Rum Swizzle Cocktail

  5. Garnish with an orange slice, pineapple wedge, and cherry. Serve with a straw and enjoy.

    Rum Swizzle Cocktail


  • The amount of ice needed is not exact, but you will need a lot of crushed ice for swizzle drinks. Count on at least 10 average-sized ice cubes to make two cups of crushed ice. An ice crusher (whether electric or manual) makes it a quick task, and a blender works, though you’ll need to strain off excess water.
  • Whenever possible, use fresh juice. One orange and half a lemon should work out perfectly for a single drink. Juicing fresh pineapple is worth the effort but not as critical to the drink.
  • Increase the recipe to make two to four drinks at once: Swizzle it in a mixing glass or small pitcher, pour the mix equally into serving glasses, then top each with ice, bitters, and the garnishes of your choice.

Recipe Variations

  • Switch from falernum to grenadine, orgeat syrup, or simple syrup.
  • Play around with different rum combinations. For instance, some swizzles call for aged and blackstrap rums and some for light and aged rums. Spiced rum can give the drink a good boost, too.
  • Likewise, explore the difference a change in bitters can make. There are fascinating flavors of bitters available, and each can add a subtle twist to any swizzle.
  • Add 1/2 ounce of triple sec. Other fruit liqueurs will yield interesting results, and ginger liqueur would add a sweet spice to the mix.

Where was the rum swizzle invented?

As with many cocktails, there are several stories about the rum swizzle’s origins. All of them point to the Caribbean islands, and most come from Bermuda. You can find rum swizzles at nearly every bar on the island, though they’re all a little different. One of the most adamant claims to the rum swizzle’s creation comes from the Swizzle Inn; the rum swizzle made its debut there around the establishment’s 1932 opening. Today, their swizzle is a shaken drink similar to this recipe made with Gosling’s Black Seal and Gold Seal Rums and triple sec.

What is falernum?

Falernum is a sweet liqueur (sometimes a nonalcoholic syrup) that is primarily flavored with cloves and lime. It often includes almonds and ginger, along with other spices. The liqueur variety typically has a rum base. Also called velvet falernum, it is a popular ingredient in tropical cocktail recipes.

How Strong Is the Rum Swizzle?

Pouring two rums may lead you to believe that this is a potent drink. However, swizzling significantly dilutes the mix, and the juices outweigh the liquor. It’s hard to get an accurate estimate because of the ice, but the rum swizzle’s alcohol content should fall in the 10 percent ABV (20 proof) range. That’s similar to highball drinks or a glass of wine.

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 197
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 24mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 6%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 61mg 303%
Calcium 30mg 2%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 223mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.


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